Update: Lib-Dem party quitter and North Norfolk District Council/Norfolk County Council member issues challenge to ‘double standards’ critics
PUBLISHED: 11:25 17 October 2012
A councillor who has resigned from the Liberal Democrats party has challenged critics to identify where and when he called on earlier party defectors to resign their seats and seek re-election.
A rising chorus of voices has this week been calling on Graham Jones to step down from North Norfolk District Council and Norfolk County Council and face the electorate at by-elections.
Critics, including North Norfolk Labour Party, claim that Mr Jones expected other county councillors who quit their parties - Paul Rice, Philip Hardy and David Callaby - to resign their seats and seek re-election through the ballot box.
An EDP online poll asking readers’ views showed on Wednesday morning that, of 214 recorded votes, 194 (91pc) thought Mr Jones should seek re-election and 20 (nine pc) did not.
Mr Jones, 69, from Antingham, near North Walsham, resigned from the party and the Lib-Dem groups on both councils on Monday saying that he had become totally disillusioned with party politics across the political spectrum, but intended to continue as a member of both authorities, serving as an “Independent Liberal Democrat.”
He has now thrown down the gauntlet to those who have accused him of double standards, challenging them to identify where and when he called on others who resigned to seek re-election.
“I say a million things and it may be that, in the heat of the moment, I did say something but I honestly can’t remember doing so,” said Mr Jones.
“Even if I did - and I don’t think I did - the difference is that I haven’t changed political allegiance. I am still a Liberal Democrat at heart and believe in Liberal-Democrat values.”